4 Ways to Build a More Transparent Food Brand | The Garage Group

4 Ways to Build a More Transparent Food Brand

We’ve already written about how companies can fix major PR snafus by being more transparent. In the food & beverage and CPG world, consumers are demanding more simple and honest packaging and ingredients lists.

According to a study by Label Insight, 94% of consumers say that food product transparency from brands is important and impacts their purchase. And companies are listening up and attempting to deliver on this insight. For example, a hotly-contested GMO labeling bill is anticipated to be signed by President Obama in the near future that will allow food companies to disclose GMO ingredients via a scannable QR code on the package instead of a direct written disclosure on the label. This means that consumers would need to have access to both a smartphone and the internet in order to check the GMO contents of a food–and would additionally have to painstakingly scan every label.

There are many critics of the bill due to its poorly-executed attempt at consumer empowerment. However, some food companies are bypassing the bill entirely and are responding to consumers’ demands for ingredient transparency by stepping up and voluntarily disclosing GMO ingredients on their labels (Kellogg’s, General Mills, Campbell’s, Conagra Foods and Mars are some of the notable companies on the list). Honesty truly is the best policy in today’s consumer climate, and the brands that embrace transparency will likely win out over companies that attempt to find labeling loopholes. Here are a few more ways that companies are leveraging transparency in the food & beverage sector.

Product Overhauls

Many products that have had less-than-stellar reputations due to use of artificial ingredients or poor environmental practices have started to give themselves complete, very public makeovers. Hormel, for example, recently announced a clean label initiative, eliminating all artificial ingredients from a select number of products; Keurig has come out with a more eco-friendly coffee pod to combat concerns about excessive plastic waste; and Red Gold recently became the first tomato brand to bear the Non-GMO Project Verified seal of approval (on BPA-free cans). 

Single-Origin Goods

The Real Co. sells single-origin food products and labels each individual unit with the farmer’s name. The company has even
gone so far as to start putting the wheels in motion to make the “Single Origin Verified” label an official certification, hoping to get other companies on board. The certification would take into account where the product comes from, sustainable farming practices, treatment of workers and more. The single-origin model allows The Real Co. to pay producers above market value, which allows producers to invest more in their products and produce higher-quality goods. This method likely would likely not work for larger companies with substantial supply needs, but it will definitely be on the rise as consumers become more conscious about where their food comes from. 

Going Local

Consumers are becoming increasingly interested in sourcing food closer to home to reduce environmental footprint and to ensure the freshest ingredients possible. Many brands are calling out exactly where their ingredients come from to differentiate themselves and foster brand loyalty. 

Minimal Ingredients
More and more food manufacturers are opting to show more of their product
via strategic transparent packaging choices to showcase the freshness of
ingredients used in the product. Minimal, vibrant ingredients are played up and are often called out on the packaging to signal to the consumer that it is a wholesome and healthy product. Many brands are jumping on this trend, from
juices, to beef jerky, to snack bars.

Transparency is only going to become more important as consumers become more savvy. How is your brand differentiating itself as an honest competitor in your space?

The Garage Group helps BigCos operate like startups by helping implement strategies that speak to both consumer demand and business objectives.

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